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How to Declutter and Organize Your Home: Living Room

The living room is the most important room in the house because it’s where you get to hang out with your family and entertain your guests.

You shouldn’t go to a store and buy the complete living room set, on the contrary, having a space that tells your family’s story through photos and collected items of your trips throughout the years is very important.

The main function of the living room should be to sit and relax, but we sometimes do other activities that we have to consider when designing our space, such as eating, playing games, working and reading.

Having that unique artwork, or the DIY table that you faux finished can be great conversation starters. This should be a room that reflects your personality, so be sure to incorporate items that are meaningful to you.

How to Start

  • Ask yourself which are your room needs. Create zones for each of these needs. Start with the most important one which is your seating area. Change the decorative pillows, declutter and organize the coffee table.
  • Now, address the secondary functions of the room. Is there a reading chair? Does it have a lamp? Can you place a small table near it to be able to put a drink or your book?
  • Do you eat in that room? Does it have a side table that you can use as a buffet table? Which items can you declutter there? Does that table double as your games or hobbies table? Where do you store your games? Do you have your home office in that room also? Is it organized, or does it need a better storage system?

Things to Declutter in Your Living Room

  • Take out of the room everything that belongs elsewhere: your kids’ backpacks, toys and shoes should go to their room, any food belongs in the kitchen, etc.
  • Declutter and purge before buying any organizing shelf or box.
  • Do it in categories, for example, your accessories: check them one by one and ask yourself if they fit the style and vibe that you want to have in your room. Change the batteries to the clocks that are no longer working, update the photos, get rid of used up candles.
  • Edit your collections. If you have a large collection of something, you might consider showcasing only a few items and storing the rest elsewhere.
  • Get rid of old newspapers, magazines that you’re not going to read anymore and junk mail.
  • Check your games: keep only the game consoles and board games, DIY crafts, hobbies and puzzles that you use.
  • Get rid of all the CD’s and Blu Ray movies, because you can download everything online.
  • How are your plants? Plants are living energy and they should be green and look healthy. The planters are another place where you can infuse some color or personality. Get rid of dried up fragrance diffusers and potpourri.
  • Declutter seasonal decor and leave only the things that you like to use.
  • Get rid of the books that you’re no longer going to read, but leave a few for decorating purposes. They are great to give height to accessories, as coffee table books or as part of a vignette.
  • Take a good look at your artwork. Is it a good fit for your decor? Or can you switch it up for some other ones that you have around your home? The same with the lamps that you have.
  • Soft items: how are your throws or your decorative pillows, do they need an update?
  • Is the sofa in good shape, or does it need reupholstering?

How to Design and Organize Your Living Room

  • Draw a floorplan of the whole living room area. Identify the traffic patterns that are going to take place from one room to the next or from door to door, so that you leave walking space near those areas.
  • Find your focal point. Is it a place that has a great view? Does the space have a fireplace? If the space doesn’t have any special features, you can create one by placing a big artwork on the wall and putting your conversation area near it.
  • Place the biggest pieces of furniture first. You should put your sofas and your coffee table first in a way that makes sense according to your focal point and your traffic pattern.
  • Decide which other activities are going to take place in that space, and add additional seating, a lamp, a bookshelf or whatever is needed.
  • Side tables are very useful because they can have a couple of drawers for storage while having a surface to put a table lamp or your drink.
  • Incorporating ottomans into your decor will allow you to have an extra seating space or 2, while using the inside to store throws or toys. Having an open and closed multi function furniture piece will allow you to hide certain items while displaying your photos and accessories. Incorporate storage in the coffee table, this can be like a trunk that opens to hold things inside, or just a table with a lower shelf where you can put some books. Baskets, trays or boxes can be both decorative as well as functional. They’re great for storing small things such as remote controls and games.
  • Behind the sofa: if your sofa is not against the wall, that can be a great space to put a low bookcase and to be able to have a couple of shelves for storage. On the top shelf you can place some lamps or accessories.
  • Have dual-function items, for example a decorative throw can double as a blanket when you’re watching a movie, or the colored vases that look like a vignette all together, but that you can use one at any given time to put some flowers in.
  • Curb your collectibles. Don’t let your collections take over your living room. They are best admired when you can see bits and pieces of them and when you’re able to change them constantly. For example, if you collect artwork, having your walls filled to the brim with different art will make your space feel very overwhelming. On the other hand, if you select only a few to display at the time, the effect will be like in those museums where there is white space surrounding the art, and you get to really appreciate them.
  • Anchor the main seating space with a rug.
  • Plan the lighting. A big chandelier is great, but you may need additional lights near the side tables or to highlight a special piece of art. Having dimmers will add a cozy mood to your space.
  • Decorate your room. Add your personality. Add accessories, photos, pillows and flowers that will make your living room the most cherished space in your home. Treat everyday stuff as art: instead of having artwork hanging on your wall, you can create a gallery wall display with your photos, your hats or your collectibles.

Maintenance Tips

  • Keep it fresh: make a little update for every season: change the decorative pillow covers, make a different flower arrangement, switch the accessories and the candle colors. Deep cleanse regularly and spray with a linen spray.
  • Have real plants, and take care of them so that they look healthy. Put them in beautiful planters to go with the decor.
  • One thing in, one thing out rule: to avoid having too much stuff creep into your living room, have the rule that as soon as one thing comes in, one must also go out of the room, either to be donated or to be stored elsewhere.
  • Tidy up every day.
  • Everything should have a “home” and it’s easier to return the items to where they belong on a daily basis.
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Written by

Ana Maria Matamoros

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